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How do passengers choose which classes to travel with.

Started by Vladki, January 05, 2019, 05:15:41 PM

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Question about how do the simutrans passengers choose which class to travel with.
I have a small train network, and all trains have 1st (high), 2nd (medium) and 3rd (low - reassigned to very low) class carriages.
However in the detail window I can see that passengers from medium and high class often use the lower class compartments, and the higher class compartments are left empty (or half-used).
Could it be because even the 3rd class compartment is comfortable enough for the duration of the trip? Or just that everybody uses the cheapest compartments unless the train is full?


Firstly there is an unresolved bug which can cause passengers to flood a vehicle up to 4 times their actual capacity. For example A train that could sit 400 people and a few dozen overcrowded held 2,000 people. When this occurs all class logic breaks down so such situations can be ignored. It is not resolved because of the limited ability to recreate it and there is currently a much more serious issue that is being dealt with.

What is meant to happen is that passengers will choose the cheapest comfortable class that they can afford. So for example say the train has the following made up classes with appropriate comfort values.
High : 2 hours
Medium : 1 hour
Very Low : 30 minutes

A High wealth passenger who is going to ride the train for 1 hour 15 minutes will pay for a High ticket and go into the High class because he will reach his destination in comfort and can afford to.
A High wealth passenger who is going to ride the train for 45 minutes will pay for a Medium ticket and go into Medium class because it is comfortable enough.
A High wealth passenger who is going to ride the train for a short 15 minutes (eg the next stop) will pay for a Very Low ticked because it is comfortable enough.

Things get more tricky when it comes to when they cannot ride comfortably to their destination, either because the journey is too long for the comfort of any available class or because they cannot afford the lowest class that would be comfortable for their journey. The exact logic I do not know, and is not clear. It is described to be that a passenger might buy a more expensive ticket for better comfort but might also stick with the cheapest since he will not be fully comfortable anyway.

Now of course this is not at all realistic. The result is a lot of wealthy people taking very low, literally stuffed into the back of a coal car, type of classes just because the next stop is very near so "comfortable" or too far for more expensive classes to be comfortable for. A Very High passenger would pay for a High ticket if available just to avoid getting their cloths dirty or being associated with riffraff. The class system also does not allow one to promote passengers up classes such to fill more seats with lower class tickets, something very common with air travel. It is very common for airlines to promote frequent fliers up a class of seating, eg Business to First Class, if seating is available to allow them to sell another Business or lower ticket just to fill up the plane.


Dr. Supergood's description of the system is mostly correct: passengers will choose whether to pay extra to ride in a higher class if and only if the accommodation in that class is more comfortable, or there is no room in the lower class. How much more comfortable that it needs to be to attract the higher class of passenger depends on the individual passenger: this is randomised for each passenger, so some higher class passengers will travel in a lower class more readily than others. As Dr. Supergood notes, this is related to the level of comfort necessary for the journey time of the leg of the journey in question.

I do not agree that this basic mechanic is unrealistic: it is very common, especially in modern times, for passengers not to take a higher class of transport even though they can afford it because the lower class is comfortable enough for their purposes and they would rather spend the extra money on something else. It may be that the mechanism needs recalibrating a little so that fewer higher class passengers are inclined to travel in less comfortable accommodation, but there is no alternative plausible mechanism that allows for players assigning any price level to any accommodation that does not result in very basic exploits.

As to reducing the price of accommodation ad hoc, this would introduce significant extra complexity, and it is not clear what a workable algorithm for this would be.
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QuoteAs to reducing the price of accommodation ad hoc, this would introduce significant extra complexity, and it is not clear what a workable algorithm for this would be.
The main complexity with this comes from being able to have passengers travel in one class, but paying for another cheaper one, including catering and such. The promoted passengers could also pay based on comfort like usual, except at their original rate rather than the more expensive rate but I am not sure about that model.

Otherwise the logic would be that on the final loading cycle before departure it runs a promotion cycle in order to try and load more passengers in, filling from highest class to lowest.

This only really makes sense with point to point journies like with aircraft. It is fairly common for trains to run with empty seats along lines with many stops since running a train is a lot cheaper per seat than an aircraft. However this is a really low priority feature, and possibly one that is not needed or could be compensated with other systems later.